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   Suffield Country Club Greens:

Our local treasure
 

The greens at Suffield Country Club provide the majority of the character for the golf course, and are often both complimented and cursed by guests and visiting professionals who play the course during the year.   The undulations and breaks will befuddle visiting golfers of all handicap levels as well as members who play Suffield all the time, but the quality and condition of our greens are always admired.   The greens at our club are treasures that need to be nurtured and protected.  This article is aimed at sharing some thoughts and ideas toward that end.    

 

In this discussion, we will offer suggestions on:
  • Care to be taken when using carts and placement of bags around the greens
  • Common sense approach to protection of the putting surface
  • Repairing ball marks (excerpts from an article written by Larry Gilhuly for USGA) 
Care to be taken when using carts and placement of bags around the greens
 

Signs posted near the approaches to the greens provide guidance to those using motorized carts and this provides adequate protection to the greens most of the time.  The increased popularity of 2 and 3 wheeled push and pull carts is creating another cause for concern.  Many folks are running these carts right up to the green and between the greenside bunkers and the green.   On most of our holes, this is a very fragile area, and over time the  concentrated traffic  will compact the soil and lead to damaged turf.  Although it is not a requirement to keep the push carts on cart paths where they are provided, it is good practice to keep carts well away from the greens and never traverse the area between the green and greenside bunkers.  These areas come into play often, and every effort should be made to preserve the condition out of respect to your fellow members.  Only a few extra footsteps are required to avoid damaging these areas.  For those who walk and carry, obviously, a bag should never be placed on a green or collar.  

 

Common sense approach to protection of the putting surface

 

In the early '90s, a revolution hit the golf industry that changed how a golf ball rolled on putting greens - the introduction of spike less alternatives that replaced "traditional" metal spikes. While ridiculed early by many players who assumed that metal spikes must be retained for traction, this slow-to-catch-on idea began to snowball as players found the combination of comfort and improving traction with various models made a real difference on creeping bentgrass, Bermuda grass, and Poa annua dominated surfaces. The idea was simple - just remove "traditional" metal spikes from golf shoes, replace them with a good spike less alternative, institute a metal spikes ban, and presto - your greens were significantly improved. There were no spike marks and not nearly the amount of wear noted around the holes due to foot traffic. Not perfect, but good enough to produce surfaces so much better that today the vast majority of players wear spike less alternatives, and this issue is now virtually non-existent. 

Even rubber spikes can damage the putting surface when care is not taken on the greens. Please take reasonable care when walking on the greens and especially near the hole to prevent wear and tear. 

 

Repairing ball marks
 
There is an excellent article on the USGA website entitled Ball mark repair in the 21st century By Larry Gilhuly (director of the Green Section's Northwest Region).   The complete article along with other related material can be seen by accessing it on the USGA website.  www.usga.org/turf/green_section_record/2007/sep_oct/notthetool.html
 
 We urge you to read the entire article.  For your convenience below are the comments from the article on fixing ball marks properly.

Other than the new types of ball mark repair tools that either have shortened prongs or use a pinching action, the real problem with tees and two-pronged ball mark repair tools is that they are simply too long. When extended into the ground and lifted or twisted harshly, exposed soil is left behind with damaged plants on the ball mark perimeter. If nothing else, please remember this - push your ball marks back toward the center; do not lift or twist harshly. Ball marks can be fixed just as expertly with a two-pronged tool or tee by following these three simple rules:

1. Shorten the tee/prong length to no more than 1/2" to 3/4". This can be accomplished easily where the forefinger acts as a base, with the thumb providing the pushing action.

2. Push the ball mark from the back side first. As a golf ball lands on a green, the "back" side of the ball mark will have the most turf displacement. This is where the most pushing should occur, and with some ball marks this is all that is needed.

3. Push the ball mark from the sides. The two sides of the ball mark can also be slightly displaced, so the second and third areas to push back are the sides. In some cases a small amount of twisting may be necessary, but under no circumstances should the turf be ripped toward the center. Also, the leading edge of the ball mark generally requires no pushing, as the turf has not been affected.

Bottom line - any player can fix every ball mark properly with a tee or two-pronged device, just as he or she can with some of the new repair tools, with the exception of deep ball marks. It is not the tool, but the toolee that truly determines how well a ball mark is repaired!

This is a member,s club and it is the responsibility of the members to care of it as their own.

Thanks for your continued support of SCC Grounds